Dimensions and Construction description:
The earth sheltered dwelling is twenty one by sixty feet; a total
of about 1200 livable square feet. The dwelling was constructed in 1997.
There are two bedrooms, one bath and a laundry/utility room. The Great
Room is twenty one by thirty feet and includes the living, dining and kitchen area, wood stove and air conditioner.
The walls are 8 inch re-enforced concrete. The 4 inch floor
slab is also re-enforced concrete. There is a center re-enforced 8 inch concrete shear wall. The two by two by sixty
foot re-enforced concrete freeze footing rests on sandstone. The roof is wood frame and is supported by five 7 by
16 inch plywood beams resting on 4 by 4 steel columns at the front and the concrete walls at the rear. The roof deck is plywood,
overlain with a custom fabricated 26 gage standing seam galvanized steel membrane and two layers of three quarter inch
rigid foam insulation sandwiching two seamless layers of 6 mil polyethylene sheeting covered by 12 inches of
top soil. Between the ceiling and roof is 6 inches of fiberglass insulation and an aluminum radiant barrier.
The building is fully bermed on three sides. The fourth side, south facing exterior wall, is sheathed inside
and out with cultured stone veneer and contains five eight foot wide, sliding insulated patio door lights. The interior
walls are insulated with rigid foam, and are faced with painted drywall. The ceiling is red cedar veneered
exterior grade plywood, trimmed with red cedar and redwood lumber, finished with two coats of clear polyurethane. The
floor is textured, sealed and stained concrete, also finished with polyurethane.
Utilities and Sewerage
The blackwater drainage is treated by a 500 gallon in ground septic tank
and leach trench. A greywater drain connects the shower, washing machine and bathroom sink outlets to send water to the horseradish
Electrical utility power of 200 amps is provided by Barton County Electric
Co-op. Monthy bills average between 75 and 100 dollars.
Water is piped in from deep wells maintained by our local rural water Co-op
and monthly bills are usually less than 20 dollars.
There are two ISPs that provide dial up service through a local phone number
at competive rates. High speed wireless or satellite services are available, but pricey.
The telephone company provides a maximum of five private lines to the residence.
Television reception is available through an antenna or satellite.
All services are fed to the house underground.
Heating and Cooling
Heat during the winter months is provided by passive solar gain through the glass front and
retained in the mass of the concrete floor. A wood stove provides heat to back up the solar furnace and a 110v 1500 watt heater
will do a fine job in the absence of either the solar gain or wood stove.
A 5000 btu 220v room air conditioner is more than capable of cooling the entire house,
during the summer. We do not leave it on all the time on even the hottest days. The insulating qualities of
the earth berm serve to retain the coolness in summer, just as they serve to retain the warmth in winter. The roof
overhang shades the glass doors from the sun during the summer months.
220 V service is provided for an electric stove, clothes dryer and hot water heater. There
is a dryer exhaust vented to the exterior. There is also a ventilation fan and exhaust in the bathroom that can
also provide heat when desired.
The dwelling is presently designed only for electric utility power.
Land, easements and taxes.
The property is 40 acres, or one quarter mile square and includes
a deeded strip 20 feet wide and one quarter mile long for the gravel lane connecting with the county road, which is also gravel. It
is then one mile to the closest blacktop road.
There are no easements other than those for power, water and telephone.
At the present time property taxes are about 500 dollars per year. They
will probably go up some in the future.
The property is fenced entirely on three sides and partially on the fourth.
The lane is fenced on both sides completely. All fences are barbed wire.
There are two buildings besides the dwelling and the root cellar on the
property. They are not supplied with power or water.
A mower/utility shed shown in some of the photographs. This small
building is a wood framed metal 10 by 12 foot structure, with swinging full width doors on one side.
A wood framed metal barn 20 by 24 foot with glass windows on the south
facing side. This barn has one smallish swinging door and dirt flooring. There is a 24 by 48 foot corral on the
south side. There is a freeze proof water faucet located near the corral, which is also near the garden. This source of water
can be easily adapted to the drip irrigation system when necessary.